Some see Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters and the sport as controversial. However, the heated trash talk, brutal knockouts, and bumper pay deals associated with the thrill of each fight mean that fans can’t help but watch.
With a heavy training schedule and fans to keep entertained, what do MMA stars do in their downtime to unwind? Many enjoy taking a trip to the casino and keeping their cool to analyze and balance the risk to earn a reward.
If you’re an MMA fan who wants to follow in the footsteps of your heroes on a much smaller and affordable scale, then read on to discover the top casino games that famous MMA fighters are known to play.
1. Poker – Terrence Chan
A poker face is essential when playing the popular card game, and it’s just as important for MMA fighters in the ring. It would be dangerous for the sports stars to give away their next move or let their opponent know they are finding the challenge difficult. With discretion in their skillset as pro fighters, it is no surprise that MMA athletes enjoy playing poker, too.
One fighter who is known for their love of poker is Terrence Chan. Flyweight Chan was famous for being a high-stakes poker player before turning his hand to MMA. Initially, Hong Kong-based Chan practiced martial arts to stay in shape but soon became interested in competing in MMA fights, where he has had mixed success. In 2021 he won an MMA fight in Vancouver, and the next day he was on a plane to compete in the World Series of Poker.
2. Roulette – Conor McGregor
It doesn’t matter who you are; the roulette wheel is instantly recognizable as it’s commonly featured in films and TV shows. A simple game of chance that requires players to bet on which color, odds or evens, or a single number that the ball will land on, it is also a game of great suspense, much like watching the fight unfold in an MMA cage.
Irish MMA star Conor McGregor is well-known for intimidating his opponents in the lead-up to a fight. He is also known for his luxurious jet-set lifestyle involving heavy partying and visits to the casino. McGregor’s love for casinos and the game roulette is clear, thanks to his $620,000 Jacob & Co Astronomia Casino watch, which features a roulette wheel on its face to prove it.
3. Blackjack – Dana Frederick White Jr
Blackjack is the most widely played casino game in the world. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer by having a higher count than their cards without exceeding 21, which would cause a player to go bust. Blackjack is a game of short-term risk that players analyze and repeatedly make in the hopes of winning. Like many casino games, it is a game that requires participants to hold their nerve to win.
MMA fighters constantly evaluate each duck and swing they make to win the fight, holding their nerve longer than their opponent. A similarity that can be seen when playing blackjack, so it’s no wonder many MMA sportspeople enjoy playing blackjack in their spare time. Dana Frederick White Jr. is the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and has turned it into the global phenomenon it is today. Having formerly participated in boxing, Dana is a blackjack fan and a major MMA star. In a game of strategy, Dana is known to place bets of up to $25,000 per hand and has even been banned from Palm Casino, Las Vegas because he won over $7 million.
4. Live Casino Games – Anderson ‘Spider’ Silva and Ricco Rodriguez
While many online casino games are played against a computer, live casino games are played against a dealer in real-time, making for an authentic experience. Many online casinos offering live games even allow players to talk to the dealer anytime they need to. Roulette, blackjack, and baccarat are all examples of games that you can play at a live dealer casino, where you can see the roulette wheel spin and your cards dealt. Live casino is an immersive experience where you can soak up the atmosphere of a casino from a remote location. Other famous MMA fighters known for their love of casinos include Anderson ‘Spider’ Silva and Ricco Rodriguez. When MMA fighters are on the road or unable to get to a casino in person, it can be assumed that they will take a chance on online casino games.
MMA fighters and their love of casinos go hand in hand, and with so many crossover skills, it is easy to see why. However, before you follow the stars’ lead, remember to gamble responsibly by setting yourself a realistic budget of money you can afford to lose and never chase losses.